Viva Las Whitesmith

Four riders started at the Martello Tower for this Sunday’s Touring Section Ride to Happy Days Café at Whitesmith. However by the time we got there three other members had joined at various points along the route.

The ride took us along our usual lanes, after the climb up Chapel Hill, where we always take a breather at the top. Our pace was just right for riding as a group in the cool and damp conditions. And the refreshment stop was at café we hadn’t been to before – Happy Days at Whitesmith. The café owner is a big fan of Elvis and we were quite surprised to see he was in the building.

There are regular Touring Section (for riders who like to average about 12.5 mph) rides planned. Please check the calendar for details, you will always be given a warm welcome.

Happy Cycling.

Dave Sutton

Another Superb Autumn Touring Ride

This morning (Tuesday) was superb for cycling: warm, dry and virtually no wind. Our touring ride was shorter than usual at only 20 miles but it included some gravel tracks where our speed is less than when cycling on tarmac roads.

Seven of us started at our usual place, ie the car park in Friston Forest, and cycled towards Wilmington which, of course, meant cycling up Chapel Hill. It’s a super hill as it provides a reasonably challenging climb and you feel you’ve had a good workout by the time you reach the summit. We always take a breather at the top, admire the view and regroup.

We continued down the other side, through Wilmington, across the A27 and headed towards Robin Post Lane. Shortly after joining this lane we turned right to follow NCN Route 2 through Oggs Wood which eventually leads to the Cuckoo Trail near Polegate. In the past this route through the wood has been quite difficult to cycle along with a road bike as it has usually been muddy with one part being quagmire. There is now a small bridge over the area that used to be the quagmire with a gulley underneath; presumably this allows water to flow through. Also gravel has been added to the path so it’s much easier to cycle along, especially with treaded tyres.

On reaching the Cuckoo Trail we headed north towards Hailsham. The surface of this shared use path is very good between Polegate to Hailsham so, this morning we were able to glide along without being troubled by ruts and potholes, whilst admiring the Autumn colours of the trees and hedgerows.

We have a new short cut through Hailsham so it wasn’t long before we were back on Robin Post Lane and cycling through Abbot’s Wood; the colours of the trees were stunning. The gravel track is in good condition apart from a few potholes at the Hailsham end so it makes for a very pleasant cycle ride if you have the appropriate tyres.

Our refreshment stop today was at Arlington Tea Garden, one of our favourite refreshment stops. Whilst we sat in the garden enjoying our elevenses in the Autumn sunshine we realised that this could be our last ride this year in such brilliant weather. A cold front was due later today with the possibility of unsettled weather next week.

We’ve enjoyed some superb cycling this Autumn but it looks as if Winter is just round the corner!

Happy cycling,

Clive

Easy Cycling on Romney Marsh

If ever you want somewhere flat to cycle with plenty of quiet county roads then try Romney Marsh. Three of us did precisely that last Thursday. We put the bikes in the back of our cars and drove to Rye Harbour where there’s a large car park and, it’s free! It took just over an hour to get there.

Joe had plotted a route of a tad under 50 miles for our Romney Marsh Tour; it proved to be the easiest half century I’ve ever done on a bicycle!

We cycled into Rye (there’s a cycle path for most of the way between the harbour and town) and then along a fairly straight and flat road to Appledore for a refreshment stop at Miss Mollett’s High Class Tea Room. It was excellent and has been added to our Refreshment List.

Then, we cycled on some very quiet and narrow roads to New Romney where we crossed over the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch narrow gauge railway line and on to Dungeness; nice view of the power station! There was a gentle breeze which wasn’t a problem but it did cross my mind that on a windy day it could prove quite challenging. Being flat, Romney Marsh is rather exposed with little in the way of shelter; it’s similar on the Pevensey Levels.

A few miles later we entered Lydd Airport for a spot of lunch in Biggles Restaurant and watched a biplane practising landings and take offs. There were plans on the wall for a future expansion of the airport with a longer runway and more terminals. Perhaps we won’t need that third runway at Heathrow after all!

Then it was back to Rye Harbour and one last refreshment stop at the William The Conqueror pub (super little pub) before driving back to Seaford.

Certainly, Romney Marsh is a good place for cycling if you don’t like hills although not on a windy day!

Happy Cycling,

Clive

A Superb Autumn Cycle Ride

Cyclists joining Robin Post Lane near Arlington

Cyclists joining Robin Post Lane near Arlington

Today (Tuesday) was a superb day for cycling.

It was a typical early autumn day. The morning started a bit chilly but soon warmed up and there was very little wind. The trees had started to lose their leaves but most were still green; the autumn colours are still two or three weeks away.

Our ride was different to our usual touring rides in that we departed from tarmac and used a gravel road for a change. This was Robin Post Lane between Thornwell Rd near Arlington and Arlington Road West near Hailsham. It’s only about 1.5 miles long but it’s very pleasant as it goes through Abbot’s Wood and the gravel road is quite good to cycle along if you have the appropriate tyres. Everyone had treaded tyres on their wheels, mostly 32 mm wide.

After Robin Post Lane we cycled into Hailsham to join the Cuckoo Trail to Horam where we stopped for elevenses at Wesson’s Café. After that it was back to Exceat via Muddles Green and Arlington, a round trip of 32 miles.

Some of our future rides on Tuesdays will include gravel roads and the like so, as long as you have treaded tyres of about 32 mm wide, you should be fine. Our longer touring rides, ie those on Thursdays and Sundays will not include gravel roads so should be OK for 25 mm slick tyres such as Continental Gatorskins.

We will repeat this particular ride in two or three weeks when the autumn colours have arrived. It should be fantastic.

Happy cycling,

Clive

A Perfect Cycle Ride

Cyclists riding along Stalkers Lane on their way to Blackboys

Cyclists riding along Stalkers Lane on their way to Blackboys

We’re lucky in Cycle Seahaven as we have miles and miles of wonderful country lanes to cycle along, many having little traffic and just the occasional horse or farm vehicle to pass. Those around Ripe, Chalvington and Chiddingly are especially quiet; the hedgerows are looking magnificent at this time of year: lots of pink willow herb, blue tufted vetch, reddish-brown meadow cranesbill, not to mention an abundance of white cow parsley and verdant ferns. On a warm summer’s day it’s like a cycling paradise!

That’s what eight of us from Cycle Seahaven experienced today (Thursday). It was a perfect morning for cycling; the sun was shining and there was a slight breeze to cool us down a tad. It was a round trip of 40 miles with a refreshment stop at a new café for us: The Grove Café and Village Shop at Blackboys. Fantastic! Good tea and coffee, excellent cakes and cyclist friendly. We’ll certainly be going back there again so I’ve added it to our Refreshment List.

Cyclists at Grove Café, Blackboys.

Cyclists at Grove Café, Blackboys.

My thanks to all those who cycled with me today through this cycling paradise; great company. It was a perfect cycle ride!

Lets hope for many more.

Happy cycling,

Clive

 

 

 

Ride to Littlehampton

Cyclists outside the 'tea rooms' where we had lunch. A good choice.

Cyclists outside the ‘tea rooms’ where we had lunch. A good choice.

Last Thursday, 26 May, four of us took part in the fifth annual ride to Littlehampton and back, a total distance of 70 miles. Originally, it was never planned to be an annual event but somehow it’s worked out that way. It’s one of our longer rides (most touring rides are between 25 and 50 miles) and probably one of our most interesting as we cycle through a variety of seascapes, much of it on promenades and the like. Therefore, our usual touring pace of 12.5 mph is slightly lower as we ‘share with care’ along these paths.

Most of the route is virtually flat although the part going through Newhaven and Peacehaven is a bit hilly in places but nothing too arduous. The superb ‘shared use’ path between Newhaven and Peacehaven alongside the A259 is ideal for cycling along. Getting this path constructed has to be one of Cycle Seahaven’s greatest campaigning successes in my opinion!

At Saltdean we dive down (not literally but it’s a short steep descent) onto the undercliff path and from here the rest of the route is flat apart from a ‘lump’ at Brighton Marina.

It’s all very pleasant cycling along this concrete path with the sea on one side and chalk cliffs on the other. (This is great fun when it’s high tide and the sea’s a bit rough; dodging the splashes! Today it’s low tide and a calm sea but I wouldn’t want to cycle along there in a storm)!

Then it’s through the hustle and bustle of Brighton and Hove; shame to see that the big wheel has gone but the I360 looks to be nearing completion. Soon we’re cycling along Basin Road South; industrialised but it all adds to the variety of scenery. We pass Carat’s Café Bar. It was tempting to stop at this superb cafe but we decide to press on. Soon, we’re walking across the lock gates at Shoreham Port. There’re no big ships in port today but it’s interesting, nevertheless.

We cycle through Shoreham and across the Adur Ferry Bridge which joins the town centre with Shoreham Beach. It’s a splendid looking bridge with glass sides but, unfortunately, some of the glass panels have been smashed. Vandalism presumably.

Soon we’re cycling along the promenade at Lancing, a lake on one side and the sea on the other. Two light aeroplanes fly over; I’m advised that one is a Chipmunk and the other is a P28. In next to no time, it seems, we’re in Worthing where we stop for elevenses at the Coast Café des Artistes on the seafront. I think we’ve stopped at this café on all our Littlehampton rides.

We continue along the promenade at Worthing but eventually have to come off it and cycle along some roads through Goring and Angmering following the South Coast Cycleway signs.

Shortly after passing through Rustington we’re back on a promenade which we continue along to the end in Littlehampton. Usually, we continue across a bridge to Climping but on this occasion we spotted a place (tea rooms) at the end of the promenade where we stopped for lunch. It turned out to be a good choice.

So, after a good lunch and a bit of a rest we retuned along the same route to Seaford. As usual on our rides to Littlehampton the weather had been superb and the cycling had been quite easy going although 70 miles is still a decent distance to cycle in a day.

I’m aware that a few people had to withdraw from this event at the last minute because of other commitments so my intention is to break with tradition and repeat this event during the summer, possibly on a Saturday if there is sufficient interest. Please let me know if you’re interested.

Ride to Horam – report

Cyclists at the start of the ride to Horam. More joined as we were leaving.

Cyclists at the start of the ride to Horam. More joined as we were leaving.

There was a good turnout of road cyclists for the ride to Horam this morning (Sunday). There were three groups: the Sportives (average speed of 17 mph), the Intermediates (average speed 15 mph) and the Tourers (average speed 12.5 mph). The three groups took different routes and arrived at the Lakeside Café within about 30 minutes of each other. The Tourers arrived first but, of course, they cycled the shortest distance.

Judging from the number of cyclists riding along the country lanes it’s clear that road cycling is becoming very popular. A few years ago, we saw very few cyclists on the roads on Sunday mornings. It’s great to see this increase in popularity!

Happy cycling,

Clive

Bluebell Cycle Tour

Cyclists in a woodland glade on the Cuckoo Trail

Cyclists in a woodland glade on the Cuckoo Trail

Our touring ride this morning (Tuesday) included cycling along the Cuckoo Trail from Hailsham to Heathfield and returning along country lanes through Lions Green to Muddles Green. There were bluebells aplenty along these stretches of the route; carpets of them in woodland glades.

Five of us took part in this ride and at times we spent more time admiring the flowers rather than watching the path or road ahead but there were no mishaps. Apart from the bluebells there were primroses and wood anenomes and the occasional whiff of wild garlic. It made for a fantastic springtime cycling experience.

Cyclists at Frenches Halt on the Cuckoo Trail near Heathfield

Cyclists at Frenches Halt on the Cuckoo Trail near Heathfield

 

The photo above is one such woodland glade on the Cuckoo Trail about a mile south of Horam. On both sides of the trail were extensive carpets of white wood anenomes with a few bluebells mixed in.

Further along the Cuckoo Trail we came across Frenches Halt. It’s in a back garden which includes a signal box! Press the nose of Thomas the Tank Engine (on a poster) and all manner of things happen: the signal changes, a whistle blows followed by the sound of a steam engine puffing away; great fun!

It was another super touring ride and at the end I felt we should have called it the Bluebell Cycle Tour. I’ll be repeating this ride on Sunday, 1 May. Not to be missed!

Happy cycling,

Clive Aberdour

A Perfect Springtime Ride

Cyclists at Chiddingly Village Shop & Cafe

Cyclists at Chiddingly Village Shop & Cafe

Seven members took part in the touring ride to Muddles Green today (Tuesday), a round trip of 37 miles at our usual average speed (whilst cycling) of 12.5 mph. The spring weather was perfect, dry and sunny with the temperature reaching 18ᵒC and just a slight breeze.

Spring is a great time of year to cycle along the country lanes of Sussex with the hedgerows bursting into life and the grass verges being full of wild flowers including primroses, bluebells and celandines. Couple this with today’s excellent weather and you could say that this is cycling paradise!

As usual our ride included a refreshment stop which today was at one of our favourite cafes, the Chiddingly Village Shop and Café at Farley Farm. We’ve been frequent visitors of this café since it opened in 2012 and have never been disappointed. It’s run by volunteers who are always cheerful, it’s cyclist friendly, the service is good and they make a nice cup of coffee!

This was a perfect springtime ride. Let’s hope for more fine spring days.

Happy cycling,

Clive